What is Golden Week? Celebrations in Japan force manga to take hiatus

What is Golden Week in Japan, what does it include, and why do the celebrations force the manga industry into a brief hiatus?

For millions of manga readers around the world, the weekend is dominated by the latest chapters of their favorite series.

Unfortunately, there will be a notable absence of the most popular manga series this week, including One Piece, Jujutsu Kaisen, and My Hero Academia because of the Golden Week celebrations.

Here is everything that you need to know about Golden Week in Japan, including what national holidays feature over this seven-day period and what the celebrations mean for the manga industry.

What is Golden Week in Japan?

In Japan, Golden Week is a week-long celebration that includes four major national holidays.

A large portion of Japanese companies take Golden Week as an opportunity to temporarily shut down for the holidays; giving their employees the time needed to enjoy the festivities with their families.

This includes various manga magazines and publication outlets, meaning that there will be significantly fewer new chapters released over the Golden Week weekend including One Piece, My Hero Academia, and Jujutsu Kaisen.

The four holidays include:

  • Showa Day (April 29) – A celebration for former Emperor Showa’s birthday
  • Constitution Day (May 3) – A celebration of Japan’s post-war constitution
  • Greenery Day (May 4) – A celebration of Japanese nature
  • Children’s Day (May 5) – A celebration of sons and daughters

Showa Day was first celebrated in 1948 as a holiday to mark Emperor Hirohito Showa’s birthday; however, the holiday was abolished in 1989 because of the emperor’s controversial past during World War 2.

In the late 2000s, the holiday was reintroduced with a different meaning; according to the Japan Weekly magazine, this is now “a day to think over the turbulent years of Hirohito’s reign [and] about the Second World War and the role of Japan in it.”

“This day is about remember the mistakes that shouldn’t be committed again and the hardships that Japan were passed later but also to remember the Japanese economic miracle that came later thanks to everyone’s effort and how the Japanese raised the country again together. The goal is to motivate the new generations to create a prosperous and new future between all.”

Constitution Day, also known as Kenpo Kinebi, is a celebration of democracy and government in Japan following the acceptance of the post-war constitution in 1947. Students use this national holiday to learn more about the government, its role in modern society, and its history.

Greenery Day is also known as ‘Nature Day’ and as the name suggests, is a celebration of the beautiful Japanese landscape, its ecology, and animals. People are encouraged to take this day as an opportunity to enjoy nature by visiting parks, reserves, and green spaces.

Golden Week wraps up with arguably the most popular celebration of the four, Children’s Day. Families across Japan pray for the health of their sons and daughters. People like fly carp streamers and kites called ‘Koinobori’, which represent the collective hope that children grow up healthy to become successful members of Japanese society.

Golden Week marks the third busiest time in the Japanese calendar after New Year and Obon Week. Attractions such as museums, zoos, and tourist hot spots across the country often drop their prices significantly for Golden Week, with some even offering free admission as part of the celebrations.

By Tom Llewellyn – [email protected]

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